Natsu Day 3 Highlights

After behaving itself for the first 2 days, the Natsu basho decided it was time to mix things up a bit, and let the men at the top of the banzuke taste some clay. All around it was a solid day of sumo, with some real crowd pleasers in the mix, and a couple of worrying indications about some favorites. Let’s launch.

Day 3 Highlights

Takagenji defeats Daishoho – Takagenji takes his third win of the basho over a frustrated Daishoho. Takagenji got the better of the tachiai, and was able to land a deep left hand inside, blocking Daishoho from getting his preferred grip. It seemed Daishoho kept trying to get something going with his blocked right hand, leaving Takagenji to control the match. Daishoho rallied for a moment, but he had no offensive sumo to work with today.

Kotoeko defeats Chiyoshoma – A lightning tachiai from Chiyoshoma nearly carried the match, but Kotoeko was able to dodge the follow up attack and rally. Both men loaded throws, but Kotoeko pulled Chiyoshoma away from his pivot leg and dropped him to the clay. Fast thinking and great execution from Kotoeko today.

Enho defeats Sadanoumi – You don’t get to see enough leg-picks in the top division, but Enho had this one dialed in. He went after Sadanoumi’s bandaged right knee, and there was nothing Sadanoumi could do to stop the loss.

Chiyomaru defeats Tokushoryu – Chiyomaru opens 3-0 after Tokushoryu can’t seem to remember how to win an oshi battle. Tokushoryu really looked like he could not commit to oshi or yotzu, and Chiyomaru made him pay.

Shimanoumi defeats Shohozan – Shimanoumi finally picks up his first win, after enduring a few good blows from Shohozan. Shimanoumi was able to lock up Shohozan’s arms, and keep him on defense.

Tomokaze defeats Onosho – Good defensive footwork by Tomokaze, he absorbed Onosho’s tachiai, and was able to stand him up, move to the side, and force the tadpole out.

Kagayaki defeats Nishikigi – Kagayaki takes control of the tachiai, coming in low and strong and hitting Nishikigi before he could even get his hands off the shikiri-sen. From there it was all Mr. Fundamentals, who seems to have shaken off some of his ring rust.

Asanoyama defeats Meisei – I really like the way Asanoyama is fighting right now. Although that sumo was some of this / some of that, Asanoyama kept a single focus of being close, inside and moving forward. It paid off as Meisei really had no chance to do anything other than react.

Kaisei defeats Shodai – Shodai has yet to take one from the Brazilian (you’ll sometimes see their head-to-head written as 1-9, but that 1 is a fusen –PinkMawashi), and I think its because Kaisei knows that Shodai’s tachiai is the worst in the top division, and as long as he can keep Shodai from moving laterally, he’s a cream puff.

Ryuden defeats Yoshikaze – Zero forward pressure from Yoshikaze. Whatever is affecting him physically has robbed him of any offensive power, which is terrible because Yoshikaze’s sumo is mostly attack.

Abi defeats Chiyotairyu – This was won at the tachiai, as Abi was able to engage first and dictate the terms of the match. Chiyotairyu struggled to even get his footing, let along respond to the double arm thrust attack common to Abi-zumo.

Daieisho defeats Aoiyama – Aoiyama had nothing today. Zip. Zero. Daieisho brought his best sumo: center mass, moving forward strongly. Right now Daieisho is doing well for Maegashira 2, and I am curious to see what kind of hell he takes from the Ozeki.

Tochinoshin defeats Okinoumi – Okinoumi made him work for it, but the crowd was cheering for Tochinoshin. It’s safe to say that for the moment, Tochinoshin looks genki and he is back to being a fearsome competitor. Tochinoshin landed his left hand early, and although Okinoumi had a lot of moves he unleashed trying to break that grip, Tochinoshin held fast.

Tamawashi defeats Ichinojo – Textbook denshamichi-sumo. Tamawashi was the Shinkansen and Ichinojo was in no position to stop him. Tamawashi put everything into a center-mass contact at the tachiai, and engaged full power forward.

Mitakeumi defeats Takayasu – Clearly Takayasu is not in good physical condition. Furthermore his sumo seems to have gotten into a vague and unaggressive state. With Takayasu’s feet seldom in good position, Mitakeumi found himself able to control the Ozeki, and bring him off balance to slap him down.

Endo defeats Goeido – Goeido-unit suffered a critical malfunction when his attempt to get a mawashi hold at the tachiai failed, and Endo capitalized on the momentary break in the Ozeki’s concentration. Endo is capable, but fans wonder why we don’t see him execute on that level every match.

Hokutofuji defeats Takakeisho – Takakeisho’s initial shove did not find its mark, and Hokutofuji closed the gap to the point where Takakeisho could not set up the wave train. Hokutofuji’s opening gambit had a very narrow path to success, but he made it work.

Kakuryu defeats Kotoshogiku – Yes, but just barely. Kotoshogiku surprised the Yokozuna with a fierce hybrid attack rather than the usual “hug-n-chug”. In reaction (that’s Kakuryu’s thing, you see), the Yokozuna loaded a throw and they both went over together, but Kotoshogiku’s right forearm made it to the clay first. (shortly followed by Kakuryu’s head. We hope he’s ok after that. –PinkMawashi)

22 thoughts on “Natsu Day 3 Highlights

  1. Chiyomaru vs. Tokushoryu is pretty much what non-sumo fans think sumo is—two guys bopping their giant bellies against each other :lol:

    Really impressive sumo today from Tomokaze and Asanoyama—if they can keep this up, we should see them much higher up the banzuke before too long.

    Okinoumi even briefly lifted Tochinoshin!

    I saw the Ichinojo vs. Tamawashi bout differently. Ichinojo went for the pulldown right out of the tachiai, and Tamawashi managed to stay upright just long enough for Ichinojo to run out of room—he needed to push a couple of steps forward before pulling (or better yet, just move forward period!)

    And days like today are why I cringe every time I see predictions of a Goeido or Takayasu yusho.

    • Okinoumi is DEFINITELY genki this basho. I hope he gets a winning record because he’s definitely working for it.

      I agree about the Takayasu yusho, but Goeido might still be in the running for one. Kakuryu literally took a crushing blow to the head to win his match today. If he maintains that form, instead of his previous matches where he was dominant, then it’s possible that he’ll lose a match or two. Of course, Goeido has to stay out of his own way and actually win matches himself.

  2. Not thrilled with Ichinojo’s sumo today.

    As always I love watching Enho do Enho things though

  3. You mentioned Yoshikaze already, but Daishoho (taped foot/ankle that he couldn’t use for leverage) and Aoyiama (showed a gimpy knee/leg after his match) are also both hurt. I also agree that Takayasu is hurt somehow because it was far too easy for Mitakeumi to get him off balance.

    Chiyomaru is making the most of his opportunities this basho with genki sumo! More of that, please!

    I was honestly surprised that the Chiyotairyu/Abi match wasn’t a matta. Abi had such a head start that his hands were on his opponent’s shoulders before Chiyotairyu could get his hands up!

    No one has mentioned it, as far as I’ve seen, but I’m glad that both Chiyoshoma and Ishiura haven’t henkaed at all this basho. That’s what Ishiura blatantly did last time to Terutsuyoshi. Perhaps he did for the reason we saw today: he lost pretty expediently.

    Tamawashi beat Ichinojo with denshamichi-sumo because that’s what beats Ichinojo’s “push up, slap down” technique that worked so well last basho. I expect more rikishi to deal with The Boulder in this fashion for the duration of this basho.

    • “No one has mentioned it, as far as I’ve seen, but I’m glad that both Chiyoshoma and Ishiura haven’t henkaed at all this basho. ”

      I did not want to jinx it…

  4. Thought I’d share some of my twitter thoughts here.

    I’ve been very impressed with Chiyomaru’s maneuverability so far. That stint in Juryo did him some good!

    Shimanoumi looked better today, more stable and less chaotic. It’s still worrying that he can’t seem to finish with his pushing.

    Asanoyama’s sumo has really impressed me so far, and I hope he can carry it into week two.

    I do not like the look of Ichinojo’s knee, and I hope it’s not too serious. Ichinojo’s sumo needs to go beyond forward and backwards, left and right exist as well.

    I love the guy, but boy did Takakeisho look helpless laying there, kinda like a turtle on its back.

  5. Speaking of Turtles, Kakuryu’s neck did one heck of a turtle imitation.

    Looked to compress three inches back into his shoulders. Frightening to watch in slow-motion.

    Glad Kakuryu was able to walk away from that one.

    • I commented on that on Twitter – Kakuryu did lots and lots of neck exercises during Jungyo. I made a lot of fun of him and his silly towel at the time. But I’m sure he was glad he did that – though he was not exercising for the sake of doing head dives into the dohyo.

      This sort of head dive is not uncommon, though. Many rikishi – mostly in lower levels, though – attempt desperate throws at the tawara and end up knocking their heads on the dohyo. That’s how I became a fan of Chiyonoumi – because of the way he took care of the dazed Kizenryu in this match, fixed his knot, wiped him off, and saw him to the dohyo for the torinaoshi.

      • Excellent point re those odd-looking-but-so-very-glad-they-happened neck exercises. Meanwhile, I just saw the bout and I need an aspirin. Yikes.

  6. I like Tomokazes controlled sumo, he seems like someone we might see higher up the banzuke very soon.
    A little setback for Takakeisho, but I did not expect him to win every bout as the new Ozeki. It’s really just about him getting his KK and I don’t think there is any danger that he won’t get it. Hokutofuji has already shown that he can beat anyone on any given day, but also lose bouts very poorly. I hope he can take the next step and become more consistent in his bouts.

  7. Enho admitted that he was attacking Sadanoumi’s right leg because he was favoring it. He also said that Ashitori is not something he ever practiced in keiko.

    I have seen Ura also attack bandaged arms and legs. But I’m thinking – does this actually make sense?

    I think perhaps if they actually tried to practice this in the keikoba, their oyakata might point out that they should actually attack the healthy leg, leaving the opponent’s weight on his weak leg.

    • Perhaps Enho and Ura are hoping their opponents will make mistakes as they try and protect their injured extremities from further damage?

    • You only need to pick one of their legs to get them off-balance, and they’re less likely to be fully mobile in the leg they have bandaged. If you pick their good leg, sure, you’ll win easier, but the tricky thing with a leg pick is actually the leg pick, not winning after you’ve done it.

      • Yeah, but does it matter if you pick a healthy leg or a bad leg? You succeed in grabbing it because you get below the opponent’s defenses.

  8. I’m really impressed with Okinoumi’s fighting spirit. Such a battle! I’d like to nominate him for a Fighting Spirit prize.


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